Going back just over a month ago, Everton were the catalyst for Manchester United's woes-to-be in a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
Things were looking up for all at Goodison Park. Manager Rafa Benitez was somewhat of a surprise package early on in the season.
Fast forward to the weekend gone by, and Everton have gone six weeks without a Premier League win. What has gone wrong?
Former Wales international and Everton defender Ashley Williams spoke about the situation on Match Of The Day and in an article penned with BBC Sport.
While Williams is far from a Toffee legend, he has spent enough time on the books to gain an understanding of what goes on at the club.
— Tony Scott (@Tony_Scott11) August 14, 2021
"I know where Everton want to be, but they still don't look like getting there anytime soon," Williams said. "I know exactly how ambitious the club is."
Everton Injury Issues
Injuries don't escape any Premier League club, but they have plagued Everton this season. Without star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin, goals have been hard to come by.
The absences of Richarlison, Abdoulaye Doucouré and Yerry Mina for chunks of the season hasn't helped. Williams thinks the club could have deeper issues.
When he joined the club in 2016 from Swansea City, he recalled, "the Champions League was the aim."
Since then, they have spent around £500m to try to get there, and gone through a good few managers as well - Rafa Benitez is Moshiri's fifth permanent appointment. Off the pitch, things are progressing and it's great that a new stadium is on the way, but they still look absolutely miles away from having a top-four team to play in it.
Everton's recent run of form has left little room for optimism. In their last five Premier League matches, only Aston Villa have suffered a worse run of results.
🗣"It was not a question of shape, it was a question of character."
Rafael Benitez believes Everton's issue in the first half was due to character pic.twitter.com/Ar6dT0r6GR
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) November 1, 2021
While they started off on the right track up near the top of the table, Williams thinks this current Everton team are probably where they should be.
"You have to say mid-table is about right for them. You look at West Ham, who are third at the moment, and they are clearly a much better team."
"I also don't think their squad is good enough, or big enough with as many options as the other teams above them probably do."
The depth factor was clear when new signing Salomón Rondón, brought in as cover, ended up starting a string of games in attack.
Rondón has yet to score in a blue shirt. Something Williams knows paints the bigger picture of a struggling department at Everton.
"That lack of depth is really holding them back, especially up front," he said. "Every week I look at their bench and their attacking options are so limited."
"The fans, they understand the context"
Rafa addressed Everton's poor form ahead of the Premier League game against Spurs 🔵 pic.twitter.com/7G0GYLDi4U
— Everton FC News (@LivEchoEFC) November 6, 2021
Belief in Benitez
Are Everton in a crisis? A poor run of games under a new manager can be cause for concern, but further woe will be needed for anything drastic.
For now, Williams doesn't compare Rafael Benitez's start to Everton managers of past, but he does think fans won't put up with their form for much longer.
"I can understand why their fans are getting frustrated. I watched Sunday's game for MOTD2 and it felt like Tottenham were there for the taking."
"Everton never looked like they would be able to do that, though."
Does Williams believe in the Benitez era? He's yet to be sold. "Benitez is a top-class manager and of course he could deliver that long-term vision, if he is given time."
"As a former Liverpool manager in charge of Everton, though, I am just not sure he will get it."